The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) plans to attempt an actual flight of?
The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) plans to attempt an actual flight of a manned "lifting body" vehicle in the near future. In preliminary tests, the, the vehicle has been checked out while hanging beneath the wing of a B-52 bomber.
The lifting body has no wings, but can be glided to a landing using the aerodynamic lift developed by its cone-shaped body. During the forthcoming flight tests, the device will be dropped from the wing of a B-52 bomber at 45 thousand feet. Milton Thompson, a test pilot, will then attempt to glide it to a landing.
Thompson recently rode the lifting body aloft and tested various on board systems including its small rocket engines with the device securely slung beneath the wing of a B-52.
NASA officials hope to develop a spacecraft shaped like the lifting body. It could then be glided to a landing at any jet airport on earth, making the elaborate recovery systems now in use obsolete.